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Import, export, process, analyze and view triangular meshes.

Project description


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Trimesh is a pure Python (2.7-3.4+) library for loading and using triangular meshes with an emphasis on watertight surfaces. The goal of the library is to provide a full featured and well tested Trimesh object which allows for easy manipulation and analysis, in the style of the Polygon object in the Shapely library.

The API is mostly stable, but this should not be relied on and is not guaranteed: install a specific version if you plan on deploying something using trimesh.

Pull requests are appreciated and responded to promptly! If you'd like to contribute, here is an up to date list of potential enhancements although things not on that list are also welcome. Here are some tips for writing mesh code in Python.

Basic Installation

Keeping trimesh easy to install is a core goal, thus the only hard dependency is numpy. Installing other packages adds functionality but is not required. For the easiest install with just numpy, pip can generally install trimesh cleanly on Windows, Linux, and OSX:

pip install trimesh

For more functionality, like convex hulls (scipy), graph operations (networkx), faster ray queries (pyembree), vector path handling (shapely and rtree), preview windows (pyglet), faster cache checks (xxhash) and more, the easiest way to get a full trimesh install is a conda environment:

# this will install all soft dependencies available on your current platform
conda install -c conda-forge trimesh

To install trimesh with all the soft dependencies which install cleanly on Windows, Linux, and OSX using pip:

pip install trimesh[easy]

Further information is available in the advanced installation documentation.

Quick Start

Here is an example of loading a mesh from file and colorizing its faces. Here is a nicely formatted ipython notebook version of this example. Also check out the cross section example or possibly the integration of a function over a mesh example.

import numpy as np
import trimesh

# attach to logger so trimesh messages will be printed to console

# mesh objects can be created from existing faces and vertex data
mesh = trimesh.Trimesh(vertices=[[0, 0, 0], [0, 0, 1], [0, 1, 0]],
                       faces=[[0, 1, 2]])

# by default, Trimesh will do a light processing, which will
# remove any NaN values and merge vertices that share position
# if you want to not do this on load, you can pass `process=False`
mesh = trimesh.Trimesh(vertices=[[0, 0, 0], [0, 0, 1], [0, 1, 0]],
                       faces=[[0, 1, 2]],

# mesh objects can be loaded from a file name or from a buffer
# you can pass any of the kwargs for the `Trimesh` constructor
# to `trimesh.load`, including `process=False` if you would like
# to preserve the original loaded data without merging vertices
# STL files will be a soup of disconnected triangles without
# merging vertices however and will not register as watertight
mesh = trimesh.load('../models/featuretype.STL')

# is the current mesh watertight?

# what's the euler number for the mesh?

# the convex hull is another Trimesh object that is available as a property
# lets compare the volume of our mesh with the volume of its convex hull
print(mesh.volume / mesh.convex_hull.volume)

# since the mesh is watertight, it means there is a
# volumetric center of mass which we can set as the origin for our mesh
mesh.vertices -= mesh.center_mass

# what's the moment of inertia for the mesh?

# if there are multiple bodies in the mesh we can split the mesh by
# connected components of face adjacency
# since this example mesh is a single watertight body we get a list of one mesh

# facets are groups of coplanar adjacent faces
# set each facet to a random color
# colors are 8 bit RGBA by default (n, 4) np.uint8
for facet in mesh.facets:
    mesh.visual.face_colors[facet] = trimesh.visual.random_color()

# preview mesh in an opengl window if you installed pyglet with pip

# transform method can be passed a (4, 4) matrix and will cleanly apply the transform

# axis aligned bounding box is available

# a minimum volume oriented bounding box also available
# primitives are subclasses of Trimesh objects which automatically generate
# faces and vertices from data stored in the 'primitive' attribute

# show the mesh appended with its oriented bounding box
# the bounding box is a trimesh.primitives.Box object, which subclasses
# Trimesh and lazily evaluates to fill in vertices and faces when requested
# (press w in viewer to see triangles)
(mesh + mesh.bounding_box_oriented).show()

# bounding spheres and bounding cylinders of meshes are also
# available, and will be the minimum volume version of each
# except in certain degenerate cases, where they will be no worse
# than a least squares fit version of the primitive.


  • Import meshes from binary/ASCII STL, Wavefront OBJ, ASCII OFF, binary/ASCII PLY, GLTF/GLB 2.0, 3MF, XAML, 3DXML, etc.
  • Import and export 2D or 3D vector paths from/to DXF or SVG files
  • Import geometry files using the GMSH SDK if installed (BREP, STEP, IGES, INP, BDF, etc)
  • Export meshes as binary STL, binary PLY, ASCII OFF, OBJ, GLTF/GLB 2.0, COLLADA, etc.
  • Export meshes using the GMSH SDK if installed (Abaqus INP, Nastran BDF, etc)
  • Preview meshes using pyglet or in- line in jupyter notebooks using three.js
  • Automatic hashing of numpy arrays for change tracking using MD5, zlib CRC, or xxhash
  • Internal caching of computed values validated from hashes
  • Fast loading of binary files through importers written by defining custom numpy dtypes
  • Calculate face adjacencies, face angles, vertex defects, etc.
  • Calculate cross sections, i.e. the slicing operation used in 3D printing
  • Slice meshes with one or multiple arbitrary planes and return the resulting surface
  • Split mesh based on face connectivity using networkx, graph-tool, or scipy.sparse
  • Calculate mass properties, including volume, center of mass, moment of inertia, principal components of inertia vectors and components
  • Repair simple problems with triangle winding, normals, and quad/tri holes
  • Convex hulls of meshes
  • Compute rotation/translation/tessellation invariant identifier and find duplicate meshes
  • Determine if a mesh is watertight, convex, etc.
  • Uniformly sample the surface of a mesh
  • Ray-mesh queries including location, triangle index, etc.
  • Boolean operations on meshes (intersection, union, difference) using OpenSCAD or Blender as a back end. Note that mesh booleans in general are usually slow and unreliable
  • Voxelize watertight meshes
  • Volume mesh generation (TETgen) using Gmsh SDK
  • Smooth watertight meshes using laplacian smoothing algorithms (Classic, Taubin, Humphrey)
  • Subdivide faces of a mesh
  • Minimum volume oriented bounding boxes for meshes
  • Minimum volume bounding spheres
  • Symbolic integration of functions over triangles
  • Calculate nearest point on mesh surface and signed distance
  • Determine if a point lies inside or outside of a well constructed mesh using signed distance
  • Primitive objects (Box, Cylinder, Sphere, Extrusion) which are subclassed Trimesh objects and have all the same features (inertia, viewers, etc)
  • Simple scene graph and transform tree which can be rendered (pyglet window, three.js in a jupyter notebook, pyrender) or exported.
  • Many utility functions, like transforming points, unitizing vectors, aligning vectors, tracking numpy arrays for changes, grouping rows, etc.


Trimesh includes an optional pyglet based viewer for debugging and inspecting. In the mesh view window, opened with, the following commands can be used:

  • mouse click + drag rotates the view
  • ctl + mouse click + drag pans the view
  • mouse wheel zooms
  • z returns to the base view
  • w toggles wireframe mode
  • c toggles backface culling
  • f toggles between fullscreen and windowed mode
  • m maximizes the window
  • q closes the window
  • a toggles an XYZ-RGB axis marker between three states: off, at world frame, or at every frame

If called from inside a jupyter notebook, displays an in-line preview using three.js to display the mesh or scene. For more complete rendering (PBR, better lighting, shaders, better off-screen support, etc) pyrender is designed to interoperate with trimesh objects.

Projects Using Trimesh

You can check out the Github network for things using trimesh. A select few:

  • pyrender Render scenes using nice looking PBR materials
  • urdfpy Load URDF robot descriptions
  • vtkplotter Visualize meshes interactively
  • fsleyes View MRI images and brain data

Which Mesh Format Should I Use?

Quick recommendation: GLB or STL. Every time you replace OBJ with GLB an angel gets its wings.

If you want things like by-index faces, instancing, colors, textures, etc, GLB is a terrific choice. GLTF/GLB is an extremely well specified modern format that is easy and fast to parse: it has a JSON header describing data in a binary blob. It has a simple hierarchical scene graph, a great looking modern physically based material system, support in dozens-to-hundreds of libraries, and a John Carmack endorsment.

In the wild, STL is perhaps the most common format. STL files are extremely simple: it is basically just a list of triangles. They are very robust and an excellent choice for basic geometry.

Wavefront OBJ is also pretty common: unfortunately OBJ doesn't have a widely accepted specification so every importer and exporter implements things slightly differently, making it tough to support. It also allows unfortunate things like arbitrary sized polygons, has a face representation which is easy to mess up, references other files for materials and textures, arbitrarily interleaves data, and is slow to parse. Give GLB or PLY a try as an alternative!

How can I cite this library?

A question that comes up pretty frequently is how to cite the library. A quick BibTex recommendation:

	author = {{Dawson-Haggerty et al.}},
	title = {trimesh},
	url = {},
	version = {3.2.0},
	date = {2019-12-8},


If you want to deploy something in a container that uses trimesh, automated debian:buster-slim based builds with trimesh and dependencies are available on Docker Hub:

docker pull mikedh/trimesh

Here's an example of how to render meshes using LLVMpipe and XVFB inside a container.

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